As I was driving home from Cub Scout Camp, I heard that the United States Supreme Court has validated the GOP Texas legislature’s re-districting of its congressional seats.
Congressional districts must be re-districted after every census, of course, but, under the guidance of former congressional leader Dick Armey, a newly elected and Republican-controlled legislature decided to do it a second time in order to elect more Republicans
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is OK to re-district congressional seats more than once a decade.
Here are the implications I’ve thought of so far for Illinois:
· Republican congressmen are going to be a whole lot more supportive of GOP gubernatorial candidate Judy Topinka than they otherwise would have been.
One way to stop Illinois Democrats from lowering the hammer of reapportionment would be to elected Judy Topinka. After all, reapportionment doesn’t become law until a governor signs a bill. Congressional candidates like David McSweeney and Peter Roskam now have a real reason to gin up their troops for Topinka. Republican congressmen will also probably start being a big help in Topinka’s fund raising quest. She may end up with enough money for a real television campaign this fall.
· All congressmen are going to be a lot more responsive to state legislators than they previously have been.
Federal congressmen generally pretty much ignore state elections. They have had no stake, except for the once-every-ten-year’s reapportionment. From now on, state legislators have a choke chain that did not exist before.
United States Representatives now have a large stake in seeing their party’s candidates elected to the General Assembly. Before, any stake was limited to the elections ending in the year “0.”
Besides that, I can think of one change in Federal legislation that would receive bi-partisan state legislative support...nationwide.
When the 1992 re-districting was forthcoming, Congressman Phil Crane sent a letter to Illinois legislators promising to lower the tax rate on non-congressional campaign funds. He didn’t deliver.
Currently, in a typical Animal Farm scenario, congressmen’s political action committees have a 15% tax rate, while state and local PAC’s pay 35%. That probably is to make it much harder for state and local politicians to accumulate the resources to challenge a sitting congressman. That incredible disparity in tax rate much change.
· If Democrats can reach agreement on new district lines, there will be more Democratic Party and fewer Republican Party congressmen than there are now.
That's pretty obvious.
Although the Democrats would have time to pass reapportionment legislation before a Governor Judy Topinka would take office, there is not guarantee that they will.
I remember trying to convince Lee Daniels to pass legislation to force the Metropolitan Sanitary District board members to run from single member districts, instead of at-large, when he was House Speaker. For some reason, he refused to do so, even though it would have assured at least some GOP suburban representation on the MSD’s board. Maybe there was a side deal I wasn’t privy to.
There could be a side deal here between Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and United State House Speaker Dennis Hastert, assuming Madigan needs any incentive whatsoever to help elect Topinka.
After all, Topinka doesn't want to serve more than one term anyway. She can raise the income tax, becoming a heroine of the Left Stream media for doing the "right thing," and retire on an excellent pension, after Attorney General Lisa Madigan is sworn in as Governor.